More than 22.500 people were killed in road accidents on motorways in the European Union countries between 2007 and 2016, according to data released by the European Commission. Bulgaria tops the list with around 83 fatalities per 1,000 km in 2016 while Ireland comes last with a rate of six fatalities. As this infographic shows, the difference in deaths between countries cannot be explained by solely by differences in motorway speed limits.
Germany, for example, does not have a speed limit on substantial stretches of its autobahn and it is in the middle of the pack when it comes to accident fatalities. Other factors tend to play a greater role such as the condition of the roads, traffic density, alcohol consumption and the geographical characteristics of individual countries. Interestingly, it cannot actually be said that speed play no role in fatal accidents
Taking a closer look at Germany, federal and state statistics reported by Der Spiegel show that there 0.95 fatal accidents per billion kilometres driven on German autobahn sections with speed limits. When it comes the parts without a speed limit, however, there are 1.67 fatal accidents - 75 percent more than on stretches with a speed limit.